Living through the biggest pandemic of the new millennium (so far, of course) is bad enough in itself… having to do so without live sports only makes it worse. The NBA is struggling to find a solution to the problems caused by the ongoing pandemic. The day the players step inside the court again is drawing close but sometimes it feels that it’s still way too far.
Reruns, YouTube videos, and documentaries like The Last Dance that can fill the void left by live sports in our souls. The latter is the perfect solution if you want to remember one of the greatest basketball teams in history, and while some may call it way too long (it has ten episodes filled with flashbacks and interviews, mostly focusing on Michael Jordan), others see it as the perfect way to pass the time until NBA finally resumes. And if it got you in the mood for more basketball documentaries, here are a few more to check out.
One & Done/Ben Simmons (Amazon Prime)
Born in Australia to a player at the Melbourne Tigers in Australia’s National Basketball League, Ben Simmons was destined to follow his father’s footsteps. He was torn, in turn, between basketball and his other passion, Australian rules football (a bit similar to rugby). He went with the first, though, and was pretty successful, too – at the age of 15, he was chosen to represent Australia at the 2012 FIBA Under-17 World Championship. His dream was to play in the NBA, a dream that he achieved by first playing for the Montverde Academy, then with the NCAA Division 1 team LSU Tigers.
His road from his first games in Australia to becoming the number one overall pick by the Philadelphia 76ers is depicted in the Showtime documentary “One & Done”, released in 2016.
Iverson (Amazon, Vudu, iTunes, Play Store, Microsoft Store)
Allen Iverson (aka AI or the Answer) played 14 years in the NBA. During his career, he collected 11 NBA All-Star positions, two All-Star MVP awards, and was the NBA’s most valuable player in 2001.
Iverson was born in 1975 to a 15-year-old single mom. In high school, he played football and basketball, earning The Associated Press High School Player of the Year award in both sports. At 17, he was involved in a brawl, arrested, and convicted – he received an unusually harsh sentence. Upon leaving Richard Milburn High School for at-risk students, Georgetown University head coach John Thompson was waiting for him with a full basketball scholarship.
Two seasons into his college basketball career, he was signed – first overall – by the Philadelphia 76ers, starting his successful career in the NBA.
A biopic about his life, directed by Zatella Beatty, was released in 2014.
Basketball: A Love Story (ESPNPlayer)
Award-winning director Dan Klores asked NBA and WNBA players, coaches, commissioners, both active and retired, what made them fall in love with basketball. The result: 62 “short stories” divided into ten two-hour episodes where Klores and the team talk to pretty much every major basketball personality (with the notable exception of Michael Jordan and Gregg Popovich).
How it Is Hard To Predict March Madness Bracket And Why It Is So Popular?
After a gap of 1 year, the NCAA tournament is about to start. Since the tournament is going to start; The March Madness Bracket is also set to come back. It suffered a setback last year for the pandemic. There are millions of people around the world who are waiting to participate in this outstanding program which can come with plenty of money as a prize if their luck favors it. People, who are participating in this kind of lottery program, are not only basketball enthusiasts but a number of mathematicians who have a length of period of experience in prediction, have joined.
According to many, it is not as easy as it seems to predict the right outcome from the tournament. The chance to get your predictions correct is almost one in billions of times. So, even one of the professional mathematicians has ever been able to predict the right March Madness bracket but still, there is a chance to get the best result from the prediction and in this way, it will be a very close outcome that can satisfy the participants. This article will let you know about the March Madness Bracket which is known as one of the biggest betting events of basketball history.
Why Do People Wait Eagerly to Participate in the March Madness Bracket?
Needless to mention, there are millions of basketball enthusiasts eagerly waiting to participate in the March Madness Bracket. This event is high in popularity around the world. This particular term is being coined by Illinois high school officer Henry Porter. However, this was particularly popular in the year 1982 basketball tournament when the broadcaster used this officially on the official channels.
How March Madness Bracket Is Being Played Out?
In the event of the March Madness Bracket, there are almost 68 basketball teams that get the chance to compete against each other along with the single-elimination tournament in seven rounds and with 63 matches. NCAA Madness Bracket allows anyone who can try to predict the match results. If the people who have predicted all these matches and their results rightly, they will win big money.
The Chance of Winning the March Madness Bracket
March Madness Bracket is getting organized every year and this ritual is from 1939. At present, there is not a single person even able to predict the outcome rightly and however, some participants have managed to predict the correct result for a few matches but still, they are far from the reality.
People Participate in this Event as a Lottery
People who are mainly participating in different types of lottery programs have already tried their luck to win the right bracket, however; they fail to predict the right outcome. This is not about winning the Lotto jackpot. According to estimation, people get a chance of 1 in 33 million to win the lottery. Though it looks very small probability in the case of the March Madness bracket, this chance also gets thinner. According to experts, the odds of any person being hit by an asteroid from space are 1 in 1.6 million but it is more than 75,000 likelier than winning the perfect bracket.
According to the rule of that event, people who want to win the entire prize money, have to predict 32 matches’ results in the first round, 16 matches in the 2nd round, and the last 8 matches in the third round. After that, they have to also predict the right 4 matches in the Elite Eight round, 2 matches in the final four and last the championship match. So, according to a calculation, the probability of the right predicting of all these matches is 1 in 9 quintillions. Due to this thinnest probability, there are millions of people every year eagerly waiting to participate in this event.
Has Anyone of the Participants Succeeded?
Though, none of the participants have yet to predict a hundred percent correctly most of the participants have come close. Few people also predict the right half of the entire match. In the year 2019, Gregg Nigl had successfully predicted 49 out of 64 matches. This result was very close but he lost to correctly predict Sweet Sixteen rounds which are known as the 3rd round of the tournament. It is quite hard to predict and still, it is yet to witness the winner.
Looking Back: How Did the Lakers Turn It Around To Be Champions Again?
Since the turn of the millennium, the Los Angeles Lakers were the most successful NBA team of the inaugural decade, having won five championships. Then, nearly a decade went by and it looked like the LA Lakers would go more than 10 years without a championship. However, bettors at the top 10 casino sites were soon rewarded for backing the Lakers to come through in an emotionally charged 2019-2020 season. But first, let’s examine the lean years.
Kobe Bryant’s 2013 Contract
According to Ryen Russillo of Fan Duel, the Lakers’ woes in the next decade became apparent in 2013 with the re-signing of the late Kobe Bryant (R.I.P.) on a long contract in November of that season. Having turned 35, this was to mark a spell of two injury-plagued seasons for Bryant. An Achilles
Injury has already proven troublesome to shake off by the time Bryant tore the rotator in his right shoulder during the 2014-15 season.
In 2015-16, Bryan embarked on his 20th and final season with the Lakers. Historically, this was a record for Bryant, who surpassed John Stockton on 19 seasons with the same NBA team. While playing below the peaks of his career, Bryant continued to work hard and was humble in requesting that opponents didn’t honor his achievement on the court. Having broken a 10-game losing streak, Bryant delivered one last time with a spectacular 60-point showing against the Utah Jazz.
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While paying a high salary for the aging and injured Bryant, the Lakers failed to entice younger stars in free agency. Three of the most notable failures were LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Bosh. Russillo also mentions that the Lakers couldn’t entice Kyle Lowry or Pau Gasol. With Bryant retiring in 2016, the Lakers had given up half a decade without rebuilding the team in a meaningful way.
Controlling owner of the Lakers Jeanie Buss wasn’t pleased by the wave of denials and described any player who didn’t want to play with Bryant, “as probably a loser, and I’m glad that they wouldn’t come to the team”. So, instead of attracting the aforementioned free agents, Buss and the Lakers settled for acquiring the likes of Carlos Boozer, Wesley Johnson, Jeremy Lin, and Ed Davis. As NBA Insiders will know, the strategy didn’t work.
What also didn’t work is the leadership structure, with Russillo citing a fundamental flaw in hiring and firing four separate coaches since 2013. Among those to try and fail at the Lakers were Mike Brown, Mike D’Antoni, Byron Scott, and Luke Walton. Plus, there were issues when Magic Johnson joined as team president wasn’t given the authority to fire Walton, with general manager Rob Pelinka blocking the move.
The King James Reign
After previously failing to entice LeBron James, the Lakers finally got their man when the Cleveland native opted to leave the Cavaliers before the 2018-19 season. However, one man does not a team make. Although LeBron arrived in LA, the Lakers failed to surround him with an appropriate cast of talent.
Despite the gulf in talent, LeBron dragged the Lakers into playoff contention. Unfortunately for LeBron, the dream became a nightmare when he incurred a groin injury and missed 17 games. Unsurprisingly, the team failed to qualify without him. Missing the playoffs for the first time since 2005 was a wake-up call for Lebron. For the Lakers, the playoffs had eluded the team since 2013.
Walton was forced to carry the can for the 2018-19 failure and in stepped Frank Vogel, formerly of the Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic, respectively, as head coach. The New Jersey native, however, wasn’t the first choice with the Lakers having been spurned by Monty Williams and Ty Lue – the latter wasn’t satisfied with the contract terms that were offered.
Lakers Win 17th Banner
Amid all of the chaos, the Lakers had traded three first-round draft picks along with players Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, and Lonzo Ball to secure the rights of Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans. With the roster shaken up, LeBron shifted to point guard and adapted his style for the 2019-20 season. After improving his defensive efforts and providing leadership to the team, James helped the Lakers to open the season with a 17-2 record.
With COVID-19 bringing a suspension of the 2019-20 schedule, the NBA finally resolved the issue by inviting 22 teams to form the NBA Bubble. This required coaches and players from each of the 22 teams to form bubbles that wouldn’t be broken until the playoffs were resolved. Ultimately, players and coaches could only see each other and not family or friends.
After posting a 52-19 record by the conclusion of the regular season, the Lakers finally entered the Lakers after not participating since 2013. Simultaneously, the Lakers were declared the top seed, a feat which hadn’t been achieved since 2010. All signs were pointing towards a dominant run and the Lakers didn’t disappoint.
The Lakers began with a 4-1 series win over the Portland Trail Blazers, which was followed by further 4-1 series victories against the Houston Rockets and the Denver Nuggets. The Lakers then finished the job by clinching their 17th and record-equaling championship to move the team level with the Boston Celtics. In a 4-2 series win, King James won his fourth Finals MVP accolade to complement his four Championship wins.
Assessing The Pretenders And The Contenders
As with any NBA season, the 74th season has been filled with surprises and challenges. With the Golden State Warriors dynasty potentially coming to an end, the floor is wide open for new top contenders and the Lakers might be doing as well as was anticipated.
Let’s jump in and take a look at which teams are doing exceptionally well this season and which have left fans feeling disappointed in their overall performance. And for anyone betting on this NBA playoff season, we assess on the odds on who is most likely to succeed in the championship.
Which teams don’t really have a shot this season?
With the worst record in the league, the Minnesota Timberwolves have had a disappointing season so far. Considering this performance, it is unsurprising that Head Coach Ryan Saunders was let go in February 2021 and replaced with Toronto Raptors’ Assistant Head Coach Chris Finch.
The Timberwolves have just 7 wins and a total of 29 losses to their name at this point, ranking them last in the western conference. The absence of defensive player Karl-Anthony Towns certainly has not helped with this.
Overall, while their roster isn’t too bad, they do not have an effective system in place it appears to be more of a read-and-react offense strategy than any sort of rigid plan. The team would also benefit from having a few more experienced players on the court
Over in the eastern conference, the Detroit Pistons have not had much to brag about either, with just 10 wins and a staggering 25 losses. Their poor performance this season is despite the fresh new talent that has been introduced to the team.
This has been the Pistons’ third season with their Head Coach Dwane Casey and their first with new General Manager Troy Weaver.
Jerami Grant has proven to be a great pick for the roster. So too have rookies Saddiq Bey, Isaiah Stewart, and Saben Lee. Josh Jackson has also shown some great promise as he tries to ditch his label as a number 4 pick.
The Pistons put a lot of faith into rookie player Killian Hayes, however, he was criticized for his lackluster performance early on in the season. In December, the point guard debuted in the preseason against the New York Knicks with 5 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists
With 11 losses so far in the eastern conference, things aren’t looking too great for the Texan team. The cause of this might have something to do with their poor offense.
They currently rank last in the offense rating by quite a significant percentage. The shooting has been pretty dismal and both John Wall and Victor Oladipo have hardly proven themselves to be effective shooters.
The upcoming shakeup to the team might help Head Coach Stephen Silas to get some better results, but it is unlikely that they will be able to make much headway at this point in the season.
The real contenders are…
As the current division leader in the eastern conference Atlantic division, the Philadelphia 76ers have bagged 24 wins and just 12 losses so far this season. Making them a shoe-in for the championship title.
Their star player Ben Simmons is being considered the Most Valuable Player title as is teammate Joel Embiid. The pair have been a credit to the 76ers and have had a big hand to play in their success so far.
Last month, Embiid recorded a double-double with a new career-high of 50 points and 17 rebounds. This was at their game against the Chicago Bulls where they won with a 112–105 result.
Simmons has shown himself to be an incredible defensive player but is also making huge strides in terms of offense. The player was averaging 21 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 7.8 assists per game in February.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers are having another impeccable season, with 24 wins and just 13 losses. The team’s final game before the All-Star break was on March 3.
The team will face some challenges later in the month as following their game against the Indiana Pacers, they will go head-to-head with The Los Angeles Clippers in two home games. The Clippers are also having a season to shout about and are tying with the Lakers with 24 wins and 14 losses at present.
Division leaders Utah Jazz are dominating the Western Conference with 27 wins and just 9 losses so far. They started off the season with an NBA and franchise record of a 23-5 start, putting Jordan Clarkson as a clear frontrunner for Man of the Year.
Royce O’Neale has proven to be a quality shooter this season at 41.4% and is often trusted to guard the opposing team’s best wing player.
At their current rate of success, we can expect to see Utah Jazz at the finals for the first time this century.
Who is likely to succeed in the finals in the 2020-21 NBA season?
Taking into account the history of the NBA and the performances seen this season, the Lakers are likely to be the favorites to win once again. Although, as discussed, the LA Clippers, Utah Jazz, and the 76ers are all likely contenders. There is also talk that the Brooklyn Nets and the Milwaukee Bucks have a great chance this season.